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References to Freemasonry in popular culture range from the vitriolic to the innocuous. Far more often they are merely misinformed allusions from which Freemasonry faces a far more insidious threat; that of being marginalized, trivialized, and fictionalized. Most of the references noted on this site are harmless, simply pointing out that Freemasonry has played a role in our society; some are humorous, yet some are disturbing in their associations.
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Masonic references in Black Ribbon
The author's intent in including masonic digressions is unclear. Billed as a murder-mystery, the murder occurs almost three quarters of the way through the book, and is "solved" with a few phone calls within the next fifty pages. The presumed, but unproven and un-apprehended, murderess is married to a political schemer and unsympathetic character who is revealed, at story's end, to be a freemason.
The story opens with an extensive list if American fraternal orders—Moose, Eagles, Foresters, Odd Fellows and many others—noting "Masons: 4.1 million in 1959. Today? 2.5 million." [p. 1.] "For every member lost to Freemasonry since 1959, the American Kennel Club has registered a new canine in the past year alone." [p. 2.] "In what may at first seem like a digression, let me point out that in conventional Masonry, G stands for God and Geometry." [p. 4.] "...right in the midst of my own Blue Lodge...." [p. 9.]
"In Utility. Utility. What is Utility? If you happen to be a Mason, I can explain it easily. It's Third Degree.. Really." [p. 32.]
"Agility! Of the many orders and allied organizations that constitute the freemasonry of dog fancy, agility alone requires a large and elaborate temple in which to perform its rites." [p. 84.]
"Like Masons who find that a member has revealed the secrets of the order, dog fancy henceforth deems such a person [running a puppy mill], as the Masons phrase it, 'devoid of all moral worth." [p. 102.]
"Anyway, what's exceptional about us is that whereas almost all other secret societies, from socially valued brotherhoods to notorious criminal bands, from Freemasonry to the Cosa Nostra, are open only to men...." [p. 104.]
"Masons are forbidden to recruit members. AKC judges, to solicit assignments." [p. 124.]
Referring to an incident of inhouse embezzlement: "She resigned as treasurer, but she was still one of us. Freemasonry, I suspect, handles such incidents in the same way." [p. 133.]
"The Masonic shtick is no joke. Take blackballing. As I understand it—maybe I'm wrong—in Freemasonry, blackball is no figure of speech. If you want someone in, you cast a white ball; if not, black." [p. 155.]
"As I understand it, for instance, initiation into Freemasonry represents the strictly symbolic enactment of a battle, an ordeal, a test that pitted life against death, a ritual trial, its outcome predetermined, endlessly repeated, death and rebirth, death and rebirth, not even a fair fight, really, just an elaborately, if credibly, staged wrestling match in which a paid-off death invariably agreed to take the fall." [p. 191.]
"I did, by the way, learn something about him that shouldn't have surprised me at all. He's a Mason! And a Shriner, at that, a benefactor of the hospitals that provide free care to children with severe burns. So the next time you watch a parade, keep your eye on those minicars, because one of those guys in fezzes just might be Don Abbott. And laugh all you want at fraternal organizations! But if you do, make sure the batteries in your smoke detectors are fresh, and keep your children and grandchildren away from the stove, or you might have to take all this secret society business more seriously than you'd ever dreamed." [p. 258.]
"Clarissa B. Good happened to be the daughter of a member of Don Abbott's lodge and a former Rainbow Girl...." [pp.258-59.]

Black Ribbon, A Dog Lover's Mystery, Susan Conant (1946 - ). New York : Doubleday, 1995. ISBN : 0-385-47415-6. hc 260pp.

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